Czech Cycads

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Welcome to Czech Cycads

With this strictly non-commercial website, we want to encourage the cultivation and propagation of cycads, to promote all aspects of cycad conservation and to disseminate information. We count on the support of cycad specialists and photographers from several European countries.

Exotic species growing has a long tradition in this country. The oldest plants in our collections come from the original university or aristocratic collections several hundred years old. The first botanical gardens were created in middle ages while the university garden opened in 1775 in Prague replacing the former Jesuit gardens . Many plants were named after Czech botanists or collectors, even though only one cycad, Zamia roezlii, bears the name of a Czech. Benedikt Roezl (1823-1885) was a prodigious orchid collector and founder of one of the Czech botanical magazines Flora in 1880. He also collected the plant of Zamia lindenii from which the species was described.

Did You Know That?

  1. The 300-400 hundred years old Encephalartos altensteinii tree in Lednice is the oldest Czech cycad?

  2. Cycas circinalis in Prague is thought to be around 200 years old? It comes from the original university collection from the XVIII century. It is 5.25m tall and is probably the only or one of few true old Cycas circinalis trees in Europe.

  3. The large Microcycas calocoma in Liberec Botanical Garden cones every year? It is the only publicly coning Microcycas in Europe. Visit our Liberec Photogallery

  4. All Czech botanical gardens grow cycads and there are also many private collectors

  5. Most of Czech botanical gardens have build new or reconstructed old greenhouses in recent years, increasing substantially the quality of conditions where cycads are grown in this country?

Czech Cycads, Are There Any?

Yes there are, some millions years old. Cycads used to grow on the territory of this country. Microzamia gibba, Jirusia jirusii, Pseudoctenis babinensis, Nilsonia holyi and Nilsonia bohemica are among the described Czech fossils. Some of them are exhibited in the National Museum or Liberec Botanical Garden. Some more information can be found in Czech here.

Photo: Czech cycad Jirusia jirusii (Bayer) Domin from National Museum in Prague, by Ivo Antušek, BioLib.

Public, University and Private Collections

The general public interest in exotic plants peaked during the period of communism. As not many people could travel, exotic species became a substitute for the prohibited trips abroad, a welcomed leisure and later a profession for many. Since than, almost every small town in this country has several small private greenhouses and vast collections of tropical plants, especially cacti and succulents. There are also large tropical plants fairs and exhibitions and the Czech and Slovak Cacti and Succulents Growers Society provides a platform for more than 100 clubs and local organisations, there are also private collectors of cycads, epiphytes, carnivorous plants and many other groups. The Union of Botanical Gardens of the Czech Republic has 28 members, mostly city and university botanical gardens (and not all of them are members). Due to the past connection with the communist world, some of the Czech collections sometimes contain more than the usual number of species from countries like Cuba.

This recent history is the cause of yet another Czech specialty. The country is now also the biggest exporter of tropical fish on the world and actually exports more than a majority of tropical countries. The only similar example could be the Netherlands and its tropical plants exports.

Cycads in Europe & other countries

We are gradually mapping the European collection of cycads. Until now, we have done the following. Read more in our articles

  1. Czech Republic (CZ) - some of the text can be also found on our English homepage - with some of the oldest Encephalartos altensteinii and the tallest Cycas circinalis and Microcycas calocoma in Europe as well as a nice collection of fossil cycads

  2. Belgium (CZ) - This article adds information to the text published by Whitelock on Encephalartos laurentianus, the species described from the plants from the Belgian Congo, still in collection in Meise

  3. Cuba (EN) overview of the 8 Cuban species according to Flora de Cuba, with rare habitat photos - isolated country with not much information published abroad. The only article on the web.

  4. Denmark (EN) with the oldest Zamia lindenii in Europe

  5. Ireland (EN) - the birthplace of Ceratozamia fuscoviridis in Dublin

  6. the Netherlands (EN) with a beautiful collection in Leiden

  7. Poland (EN) with some historical plants from the original Warszewicz garden in Krakow, a fantastic group of Stangeria and 200 yrs old plants of Ceratozamia mexicana

  8. Portugal (EN) - see also our photo gallery from Lisbon

  9. Russia (EN) - CVs of Küster, Katzer and Perovsky after whom cycads were named

  10. Slovakia (EN) - with one of the EU well known cycad seed sellers

  11. Sweden (EN) with probably the largest Zamia pseudoparasitica on public display in Europe

We are usually using the names of the species as described by the gardens, even though sometimes a re-evaluation of the description might be needed.


Cycads in Europe and elsewhere:

Czech Republic (CZ) - Belgium (CZ) - Cuba (EN) - Denmark (EN) - Ireland (EN) - Netherlands (EN) - Poland (EN) - Portugal (EN) - Russia (EN) - Slovakia (EN) - Sweden (EN)

  1. The oldest Czech Cycad - photo gallery

  2. Lisbon University Cycads - photo gallery

  3. Visit our new Liberec Botanical Garden Photo Gallery with photos of their coning Microcycas

Atlas with Photos of all the rare species:

Cycads of Africa

Cycads of Mexico

Cycads of Thailand

European Cycad Sellers - inside the EU Common Market

Some of our Wilderness Photo Galleries:

  1. Encephalartos barteri in Ghana - the only photos on the web!

  2. Encephalartos kisambo in Kenya

  3. Blue Encephalartos eugene-marasii in South Africa

  4. Encephalartos longifolius in South Africa

  5. Beautiful cycad photos from Mexico: Dioon califanoi, Dioon purpusii. Dioon merolae, Dioon caputoi ...

Benedikt Roezl, the orchid man after whom Zamia roezlii is named.

Encephalartos altensteinii in Lednice Chateau Greenhouse is around 400 years old. The chateau complex including the greenhouse is UNESCO protected as a World Heritage site and the greenhouse recently restored. Lednice and Kew are therefore the only greenhouses registered on UNESCO world list.

Cycas circinalis in Charles University Botanical Garden in Prague is 5.25 m tall (2009) and estimated to be around 200 years old. The new greenhouse had to be build around this plant, which probably comes from the original garden founded in 1775 on a previous Jesuit garden. The old plants were originally planted in wooden barrels or pots which gradually disintegrated.

Cycad History in Press

We are also attempting to preserve the written cycad history in our country, republishing the Czech articles on cycads published in the past and otherwise difficult to find.  Most of them are in Czech language, but you can read here the article written by Czech botanist prof. Jan Jeník, quoted also in D. Goode: Cycads of Africa.

  1. Hall, J. B. and J. Jenik. 1967. Observations on the West African cycad in Ghana. The Nigerian Field 32: 75-81.
    This article is mentioned or used also in other international texts, but until now was not publicly available.

Historical Czech Names from 1846
Picture bellow:  Jan Svatopluk Presl in his General botany (Wšeobecný rostlinopis), published in 1846, described the then known cycads and attributed Czech names to them. He added some more Czech names of cycads in his Initial Nomenclature (Počátkowé rostlinoslowí) from 1848 (complete texts available on Google Books).

European Cycads Sellers
Find the companies selling cycads in Europe here >>


Most information is and will remain in Czech language only. However, a substantial number of species photos still can be useful to the occasional English speaking visitor - as well as some English text on this website to be prepared.

  1. Introduction - in English (this page)

  2. Atlas and Photogallery - first page in English - with photos, taxonomy and more.

  3. Horticulture - introductory text in English, but more in Czech

  4. Protection - in Czech - we also prefer not to publish exact locations of the plants

  5. Czech Cycad Collections - in Czech - overview of botanical gardens and collections. This is just a basic overview which does not contain all the collections or plants. We are working on a more detailed list. The botanical gardens do not provide English sites dedicated to cycads.